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226 The Question Box 

1899, pages 186-94; "Pioneers and Durham Boats on Fox River" 
in the volume for 1912, pages 180-270. 

The History of Wimnehago County (Chicago, 1908), edited by 
P. V. Lawson, contains several articles on the navigation of the 
Fox River. Longer descriptions which may be worth consulting 
are, Thomas L. McKenney, Memoirs (New York, 1846), 95-104; 
Mrs. Juliette A. Kinzie, Wau Bum. 

We have a good deal of manuscript material on the Fox River 
improvement and other material on the early history of the Fox 
River valley. Should you find it practicable to pay a visit to Madi- 
son, we shall be glad to put it at your disposal. 


One of my former teachers is preparing a paper, to be read at the 
La Crosse Normal School next year, on the subject of "Slavery in Grant 
County." Can you help us out in this matter? Any suggestions or ref- 
erences on this subject will be very thankfully received. 

T. Emery Bray, Lancaster, 
Superintendent of Schools, Grant County 

Your question concerning slavery in Grant County is a difficult 
one to answer; slaves were undoubtedly brought to Grant County, 
and kept there in servitude, but almost no printed record has been 
made of such episodes. The following suggestions are all we can 
offer without extended research. 

The first operations in the Illinois- Wisconsin lead mining region 
under United States leases were conducted in 1822 by Colonel James 
Johnson, of Kentucky. He brought with him a few slaves to work 
the mines. Brief descriptions of these slaves may be found in Wis. 
Hist. Colls., \I, 280; XIII, 290-91 ; 331-33; XIV, 303. Johnson 
may have prospected some in the Wisconsin mining region, and 
probably had a personal servant with him. His operations were, 
however, short lived, and in all probability he took his slaves back 
with him to Kentucky. 

Most of the southern families who settled in southwest Wisconsin 
brought personal or house servants with them. One of these was 
George Wallace Jones, whose father, John Rice Jones, was an advo- 
cate of extending slavery to Illinois. The younger Jones settled at 
Sinsinawa Mounds, and had a considerable establishment where 

Negro Slavery in Grant County 227 

slaves were employed. See John C. Parish, George Wallace Jones 
(Iowa City, Iowa, 1912), 66. Jones was the first delegate to Con- 
gress from Wisconsin Territory, and was a well-known statesman 
of his time. 

George W. Featherstonhaugh, an English geologist, journeyed 
through Wisconsin in 1837. In his book A Canoe Voyage up the 
Mirniay Sotor (London, 1847), II, 119, he speaks of seeing a negro, 
presumably a slave, at English Prairie, on Wisconsin River at a 
lead smelter's named Stevenson (probably Charles L. Stephenson, 
later receiver of the land office at Mineral Point). 

One of the southern families in southwest Wisconsin was that of 
the Gratiots. Henry Gratiot is said to have settled in Wisconsin 
because of his opposition to the system of slavery ( Wis. Hist. Colls., 
X, 244). Such scruples did not animate all southern settlers in 
Wisconsin, however. John H. Rountree of Platteville was a Vir- 
ginian and his first wife was a Miss Mitchell from the same state. 
Her family was prominent among the pioneers of Methodism in 
Wisconsin, and she had three brothers, John, James, and Frank 
Mitchell who were itinerant Methodist ministers. Of one of these 
the following account is given in A. W. Kellogg, A Brief Historical 
Sketch of the First Methodist Church of Milwaukee (Milwaukee, 
1904), 8. 

"In 1844, seventeen years before the secession in the nation, the 
Church was split in two on this question and there was no power of 
armed coercion to prevent. James Mitchell's wife's father, a slave- 
holder in Virginia, had made his daughter a wedding present of two 
slave girls, family servants in the home, and they followed the Mitchell 
family fortunes to the free territory of Illinois and Wisconsin. As 
the times grew hot and the lines tightly drawn, Conference called 
him to account for permitting his wife to hold her servants and 
refusing to emancipate them, and at one session, after a hot con- 
troversy, suspended him, and at the next, I think, expelled him, 
or he withdrew and joined the Church South in Arkansas. The last 
I heard of him he was a colonel in the rebel army in Missouri, whose 
soldiers, having made prisoner a Unionist, son of Father Ebenezer 
Washburn, one of the pioneer heroes of New York and New England 
Methodism, whom Mitchell had known in Wisconsin, he used his 

228 The Question Box 

power to free the son. 'One touch of kindly nature makes the whole 
world kin,' and we forget his foibles for the grand man we first 


In volume six of the Collections of your Society in a paper read 
March 10, 1870, by Mr. John Smith, it is stated that the Eleazer Williams- 
Dauphin Claim was based entirely upon a romance written for its author's 
own amusement, by a Col. H. E. Eastman, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 
object of this letter is to ask if a copy of that romance is among the papers 
filed in your Society's Collections, or, if not, where a copy can be procured 
or inspected. 

Appleton Morgan, 

New York City 

I regret that we are not able to find a copy of Colonel Eastman's 
romance which is said to have inspired Eleazer Williams to assume 
the role of the lost Dauphin, nor do we know where you would be 
able to find a copy. We have none in our reference library, nor in 
manuscript form, in our manuscript collection. Application might 
be made to the descendants or representatives of Colonel Eastman. 

The Society is in possession of the private papers of Eleazer 
Williams which consist of his letters, diary, notes, sermons, Indian 
vocabularies, and other Indian manuscripts. Filed with these papers 
are General A. G. Ellis' recollections of Williams and a letter from 
Henry S. Baird enclosing Williams' application for admission into 
the Masonic Lodge at Green Bay. General Ellis and Mr. Baird are 
quoted by John Y. Smith in his article in Wisconsin Historical 
Collections VI, 308-4.2. 


During my three and a half years' absence fromi home I naturally 
got 'way behind in reading the publications of the Wisconsin Historical 
Society, and am only now getting caught up. In the Proceedings for 1912, 
page 144 in the paper on "The Capture <rf Mackinac in 1812" by Louise 
Phelps Kellogg, it is stated that the attack on Fort Madison was repulsed, 
and the impression is left that the Indians were not successful. My 
understanding of the case is that the garrison only held out for a short 
time and then escaped at night through a tunnel from fort to river — a very 
short distance, as the fort stood on the bank of the river — to their boats.